On November 30, twenty-eight-year-old Chijoke Kennedy Madueke was shot and injured by Raleigh police officers responding to a call that he was breaking into an apartment from which he'd been evicted. According to an initial report, Madueke pulled a knife on three officers, who fired their weapons, striking him in the arm, leg, and torso. (During the exchange, an officer was struck by friendly fire; his bulletproof vest stopped the round.)
This was the third police-involved shooting in Raleigh this year; the first two resulted in the deaths of young African-American men. On February 29, Akiel Denkins was killed near the corner of Bragg and East in southeast Raleigh by Officer D.C. Twiddy, who was cleared of wrongdoing. Then, on August 29, Jaqwan Terry was shot and killed by a police officer after, police say, he shot the officer in the right leg.
According to records, there have been nine times over the past nine years that Raleigh police shot a civilian, including the three this year. Across the state, thirty-one people have been killed by police so far in 2016—tying North Carolina for the fifth-highest tally in the country, according to a Washington Post database. One-fifth of these shootings took place in Charlotte, including the killing of Keith Lamont Scott, which sparked protests. Raleigh was the only other municipality in North Carolina to have multiple police-shooting deaths.
After Madueke's shooting, the activist group Raleigh Police Accountability Community Taskforce renewed its call for reform.
"We once again call on Raleigh's elected officials to take much-needed steps to empower community members to be able to review these incidents and help hold officers accountable if they violate their oaths," PACT spokesman Brandon Douglas said in a statement. "We urge the Raleigh City Council to support and work toward the creation of a Community Oversight Board that has the authority to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, and compel the production of evidence."
Presently, state law forbids oversight boards from having these powers, but the activists hope the city will lobby legislators to change that. The city has been noncommittal; instead, it held two "community conversation" meetings between residents and cops; more of those, Mayor Nancy McFarlane has told the INDY, are coming next year.
As of last week, Madueke remained in the hospital in stable condition. According to the city's report, Madueke's brother told State Bureau of Investigation officials that he had recorded the shooting on his cell phone, but the report said it "has not yet been retrieved or reviewed."
This article appeared in print with the headline "Bullets and Badges."